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Families for John Ferrel Adamson and Gerald Haggerty got in their last words to convicted murderer Daquon Sheeley before Sheeley was sentenced. Some expressed forgiveness but still held Sheeley responsible.

Fifth Judicial Circuit Judge Isaac Wharton sentenced Sheeley to 50 years for the murder of Adamson and 20 years for the attempted murder of Haggerty to be served consecutively. The sentence means Sheeley, 23, will spend 70 years in prison.

Before levying a sentence, Wharton heard from family members of Adamson and Haggerty and Haggerty himself. Adamson’s mother Regina Wood said Adamson was a leader in the family and they are at a loss without him.

“He was our backbone,” Wood said. “We are sort of scattered. This (victim statement) is the hardest thing I have done besides burying my son. I forgive you. I have to so God can forgive me. I would hug you if I could; that’s a mother’s love.”

Sheeley was also surrounded by family who wiped tears while they listening to family members of Adamson and Haggerty. Adamson’s youngest sister told Sheeley to keep his mind in the right place while in prison.

“Keep your head on straight so you can come back to your family,” Cherokee Wood said.

The 17-year-old said she can empathize with Sheeley’s family.

“We know what you are about to go through,” said Sara Wood, Adamson’s oldest sister.. “We have been going through it for the last two years. It’s hard, but you get him back.”

Sara said Adamson was getting his life back on track.

“He was doing really good,” she said. “He got a taste of sobriety with me. He was my best friend; I will live three quarters of my life without him.”

Haggerty explained he should be dead and has a bullet near his spine doctors cannot remove. He said the families have suffered a tremendous loss because of Sheeley’s actions.

“We will not ever get out of debt,” Haggerty said. “It’s not just emotional but financial. I don’t feel any sentence is enough for what I went through, what my family and (Adamson’s) family went through. I’ll never walk well or run. I will be on medication for the rest of my life.”

Haggerty said another reason he wanted Sheeley to be heavily sentenced was the threats Haggerty received while Sheeley was in jail awaiting trial.

“He contacted me by letter to change my testimony,” Haggerty said. “We felt threatened and unsafe. We installed a security system and were scared to wits end leading up to trial.”

Sheeley was accused of conspiring with Dazmon “Daz” Shaw and Travorick Black in 2017. All three were indicted for murder and attempted murder. Testimony in the trial revealed the trio planned to rob Adamson of 2 pounds of marijuana. Shaw pleaded guilty to manslaughter and first-degree assault in the incident accepting 19 years in prison. He testified against Sheeley. Shaw said Sheeley shot Adamson and Black held a gun to Haggerty. Forensics on the projectile recovered from Haggerty’s back revealed it was fired from a .45-caliber weapon. Adamson was killed by a smaller projectile. Shaw said it was Sheeley with a High Point gun.

Only one gun was recovered from the scene. It was a .40 caliber Glock, still larger than what killed Adamson. It belonged to Haggerty and was under the steering column of his Jeep. Shaw testified Adamson pulled the weapon when Haggerty was ordered to put his hands behind his head. Shaw said he ran when the chaos started.

Sheeley didn’t take responsibility for his actions at the sentencing when he had a chance to speak.

“I’m sorry but I did not kill him,” Sheeley said. “(Shaw) set this up. (Black) shot him. I wish this night would not have happened.”

Sheeley’s attorneys asked for his sentence to be similar to Shaw’s.

“We are not questioning the guilty verdict,” Chad Harrison said. “We ask for what (Shaw) got. He was the organizer of this.”

Wharton said he was not pleased with how the incident and Monday’s sentence hearing went.

“This was a senseless act; it doesn’t matter how you cut it,” Wharton said. “You started this started this hearing saying you’re sorry but you didn’t do it.”

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.